Mental Health Service Use by Elderly Patients With Bipolar Disorder and Unipolar Major Depression

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. Spring 2000;8(2):160-6.


Symptoms, functioning, and mental health service use were compared in older out-patients with bipolar disorder and unipolar depression. Bipolar outpatients (n = 37, mean age = 69.7) had higher total symptom severity and positive symptom scores, more impaired community-living skills, and earlier age at onset of illness than patients with unipolar depression (n = 85, mean age = 70.9). Bipolar elderly patients used almost four times the total amount of mental health services and were four times more likely to have had a psychiatric hospitalization over the previous 6 months. These findings underscore the need for effective services for elderly patients with bipolar disorder, who account for a minority of patients with affective disorders, but use a disproportionate amount of costly services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • New Hampshire / epidemiology
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Utilization Review